Ex Milestone Exec Becomes Vicon CEO

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 11, 2014

Wow, he sure does like challenges.

Just days after leaving an easy job at Milestone, Eric Fullerton has taken one of the toughest jobs in the entire industry - becoming CEO of Vicon.

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Vicon's ****** ***** / *********'* *********

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What ** *** *****?

Comments (20)

Next stop: Dedicated Micros or Norbain.

A big plus for Vicon, compared to others, is that they are public.

I imagine it's a benefit for Fullerton as now he is the CEO of a publicly traded company; Not only the prestige but the financial upside if the stock moves up.

A question has been raised about what impact this might have on Milestone, i.e., Could Fullerton effectively recruit significant / key people from Milestone?

The problem I see here is that Vicon is a risky choice. It's one thing with Fullerton's comp package and stage of career but, for more junior people, do they really want to take a risk on Vicon?

Milestone, as a subsidiary of Canon might become boring, but its still a strong brand in the space in comparison to Vicon who has the potential of being a disaster.

Key to recruitment will be ability to raise more funds. The company is down to less than $6 million in cash, and burned over $2 million in the previous 9 months due to its weak overall performance (see June 2014 10Q).

Honestly it seems like he could have found a better position than such a high-risk/low-odds one as this. Eric is a smart guy and IMO he really understands the security marketplace.

Vicon/IQI though just seems like an overall insignificant and doomed company. I guess if he fails, he can blame it on their pre-existing slide, and if he is successful he can take the credit. Kind of win-win, maybe.

My perception is that there are not a lot of CEO jobs readily available in this industry (at least based on how infrequently there is turnover among them). yes/no?

I've heard of 4 in as many months, not all US based... Plus there are a couple of emergent companies that could also use a high-level COO or CMO type of person, not sure if Eric specifically wanted a CEO job, or just an officer-level position. And there are yet a couple of other established companies that have had some high-level executive exits, and one with a visible exec with health issues that is in search of a replacement.

Honestly I would say Eric probably had a half-dozen viable options, not to say they were all presented to him or evaluated, but the openings are out there.

If you are the CSMO of Milestone, why would you accept anything less than a CEO position in this industry?

I think anything but CEO is a lateral, or down move, for him.

I think B nailed it. If it fails he won't be the blame. VICON products weren't the only issue. They had a very challenging program of competing in verticals with their integrators. Prisons were a strong point as well as the USPS which they lost. He understands channels and just might pull it off.

The real question is what does he think the problems Vicon may have?

What is his answer?

Can he execute?

John, agreed. What direction he decides to take Vicon will be critical. Since the company is in flux, and with the IQ deal just finishing, there are a number of options to go.

Note: Fullerton responded to an IPVM question about this, saying that he would be more likely ready to answer such questions publicly next month, after he gets settled in.

Did Fullerton do well in the Milestone/Canon deal? If he's reasonably financially stable without his Vicon options, then this makes for a great challenge without a ton of downside. It's the challenges that we can sink our teeth into that make us want to get up in the morning. He'll have the opportunity to set a vision and the opportunity to realize it. There's nothing more rewarding than that.

Did Fullerton do well in the Milestone/Canon deal?

Wayne, none of the Milestone / Canon details has been publicly disclosed. However, he was an exec at Milestone for 10 years and I believe he has had prior successes, so it's reasonable to assume he's not hurting for a paycheck.

To that end, I agree with you about the rewards of setting a vision and realizing it.

If Vicon implodes, no one will blame him, because it's well known that it was on the way out anyway. If Vicon comes back, he'll look like a genius, because it's well known it was on the way out. Frankly, the only risk here is if it just kind of levels out, limping along on life support till he gets bored and goes to do something else, and what are the chances of that?

Eric said that had he done his work and his time in Milestone, and with Canon's acquisition even the passion of Managment is finished in Milestone. He probably was not even agree on this acquisition, and so he is more consistent than others in Milestone, who continue to make the ghost communicated to confirm independence and open platform. He has done well to start this new challenge. Of course that will bring in Vicon his best men, a couple of months and we will see all this.

With 130 votes already, this is one of the most divided polls we have ever had at IPVM.

37% voted don't know, which is a record high, reflecting how rare a move this is.

Of those with a stance on the move, slightly more think it is a smart rather than stupids one (35% to 29%).

Perhaps Milestone owners thought Eric was taking his eye off the ball with his growing passion for wine making? Guessing that maybe it was just time for him to move on before it got ugly.

Could he be doing doing this to sell it to Canon who may want something that Vicon has or could have and can bring to market? After all he was close to the transaction and probably has a very good idea of Canon weaknesses.

Selling Vicon to Canon would be extremely, extremely unlikely, because Vicon has cameras and VMSes and Canon already has both of those.

From experience I can say that life post-close in a deal like this becomes very uninteresting, you go from an intense, highly focused environment that ends with a big win, to... working for the man. It's quite a letdown, and it's very typical for senior folks to move on to new challenges in the following months. People who thrive in an entrepreneurial environment typically get frustrated in the big corporate world.

So, my money is on him simply having left to seek out new challenges and apply his skills where they can have a visible effect.

Fullerton interview key quotes:

  • "We can open up Vicon from being a proprietary solution to being an open solution – both on the video capture side which is the cameras and on the video management side – and build solid APIs and interfaces to third-party interfaces such as access control, analytics, building management, etc., so we can have a next-generation platform that provides more value for end users through integration of third-party applications."
  • "We’re going to have to run the capture side and the video management side as two, independent business units internally in the company for several different reasons."

Weird, keep two struggling business separate but run them together...

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